Algarve Marinas - Prices and Discounts

crisjones

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We are planning to get down to the Algarve area by the end of this summer so will be intending to spend the winter months 2011-12 in one of the Algarve marinas.

We are a 42' cat and I can easily check out the published prices for the marinas in the area - my main question is can you negotiate any decent discounts on these published prices and which marinas are more amenable to negotiation?

I suspect most marinas are not full over the winter period so would they rather have a boat paying less than the going rate as opposed to an empty berth?

Any info on best value marinas in the area would be welcome.

Many Thanks
 

maxi77

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Who knows what things will be like by then. When we arrived last September 15% seemed to be the going rate. Multihill surcharges usually apply and in most marinas they charge for the berth, not by the size of the boat for long term berths, so if you are in a berth for 48 foot boat the fact yours is 42 feet will not do you any good.

Discounts also vary as far as we could see depending on the length of stay, you get better treatment for 12 months than for 6 months.
 

curlysue

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At Lagos marina they gave discount to Cruising Association members. Villamoura, did not. That was last June. Maybe things have changed. Lagos is a nice marina with a pleasant town that is good for supplies. I found the staff at Lagos very pleasant and the opposite with Villamoura but I'm sure somebody will have conflicting opinions.
 

chinita

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In Lagos a twelve month contract is twice the price of a nine month contract. The period 16 June - 16 September costs almost as much as the rest of the year.

I had not heard of any CA discount and I have had a boat here for five years! I will ask at the office.

This winter there are loads of empty berths. When I arrived in September 2005 I had to book the previous June for a winter berth. The Marina was full that winter with yachts from all over the world. At the Christmas 'do' sponsored by the Marina there were 110 cruising yachtspeople.

Last summer there were, again, many empty berths. Even the arrival of Rally Portugal and other ARC boats did not make much difference.

Many nine month contract holders (me included) lift out for the summer which gives a good opportunity to dry out properly. Also, Lagos is at its worst (IMO) those months so we don't particularly miss it. However, there are others who would gladly stay afloat if the rates were more reasonable. I have not heard of any flexibility over this.
 

crisjones

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Thanks for the info so far.

We are considering joining the Cruising Association because our plans for 2012 are to head into the Med and I am aware that some marinas offer discounts for membership.

We are only interested in spending the winter in a marina, sort of Mid Oct to Mid Apr. During the rest of the year we intend to be out cruising, mainly anchoring with only very occasional marina visits for essentials. Hence special offers for 9 months are not what we need.

I was hoping that it would be possible to negotiate a good discount if marinas are not full during the winter months - if it was my business I would rather have a reduced fee than none at all for an empty berth, perhaps Algarve marinas do not have the same business logic!!!!

Lagos seems to be most expensive but is reputed to have the best over wintering social life etc - is this about right? However if the price difference is big enough I am sure alot of live aboards would choose the cheaper marinas so there is probably a reasonable amount of people on board in the winters at all the marinas?

Any more info would be much appreciated.
 

GrahamM376

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The cheapest winter marinas in the area are usually Vila Real (tide runs through it like a train and not sheltered) or, Ayamonte which is just over the border in Spain.

Lagos & Albufeira are the most secure but Albufeira marina is 20 mins walk from town. Lagos as you say has the most social life, followed by Portimao but that suffers from swell, particularly if in the north basin. Vilamoura is safe enough but.....

An alternative may be to to talk to the club in Faro, to see if any moorings are available in the pool for the winter, cost last winter was 3.50/day. I also know of one guy who has 2 moorings but only one boat at present, he may be willing to do a deal.
 

maxi77

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The cheapest winter marinas in the area are usually Vila Real (tide runs through it like a train and not sheltered) or, Ayamonte which is just over the border in Spain.

Lagos & Albufeira are the most secure but Albufeira marina is 20 mins walk from town. Lagos as you say has the most social life, followed by Portimao but that suffers from swell, particularly if in the north basin. Vilamoura is safe enough but.....

An alternative may be to to talk to the club in Faro, to see if any moorings are available in the pool for the winter, cost last winter was 3.50/day. I also know of one guy who has 2 moorings but only one boat at present, he may be willing to do a deal.

I agree there is a bit of a walk into town in Albufeira, (I need the execise post heart attack) but the town bus service is excellent every 30 mins from the marina and if you buy the 10 journey card each ticket only costs 55 cents and is valid on as many buses as you like for an hour.
 

macd

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We are planning to get down to the Algarve area by the end of this summer so will be intending to spend the winter months 2011-12 in one of the Algarve marinas.

Any info on best value marinas in the area would be welcome.

Not quite in the Algarve (although I can see it across the river Guadiana), but you might add Ayamonte, Spain, to your list of possibles. Liveaboard community is very much smaller than, say, Lagos, but the town is lovely. Marina is right in town centre and the most tranquil I've ever encountered in terms of wash, wind, surge etc. Faro airport about 60km, doable by public transport.

Prices at: http://web.eppa.es/GContenidos/index.php/english/39

Note discount for stays of 6 months or more is 30%, providing stay does not include July/Aug.
Annual contract gives 50% off overnight rates at other EPPA marinas (there are round 20 extending right around the coast to the Costa del Sol).

The marina is government-owned. Prices are non-negotiable.

Please feel free to PM me if you want more info.
 
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crisjones

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Thanks to everybody for the info and the links, especially for Ayamonte - it was on our list of possibles but I hadn't yet found the website.

I will do some more research but I am sure it is much better to try negotiating a discount face to face, especially if you can see how full or empty a particular marina is. We will aim to get to the Algarve late Sept to give us enough time to check out the various marinas in person.

In the meantime any more info will be much appreciated.
 

chinita

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Thanks to everybody for the info and the links, especially for Ayamonte - it was on our list of possibles but I hadn't yet found the website.

I will do some more research but I am sure it is much better to try negotiating a discount face to face, especially if you can see how full or empty a particular marina is. We will aim to get to the Algarve late Sept to give us enough time to check out the various marinas in person.

In the meantime any more info will be much appreciated.

Perhaps we should as ask how many of us already here have managed to secure a 'face to face' discount?
 

macd

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To crisjones:
1. I'm doubtful that "face-to-face" would throw up much by way of discounts. Times my be hard, but all those boats still need somewhere to spend the winter. Mind you, I'm rubbish at market trading. You may have the gift I lack.

2. Extras: These can mount up in unanticipated ways.
a) power: here at Ayamonte, electricity is charged at a ludicrously low flat rate, whatever the usage. Pay by the unit, and you might suffer.
b) wifi: 4 years ago I was booked into Portimao (thankfully without deposit). When I checked the place out it was barren and remote from the town, not somewhere I fancied spending the next several months. I've also heard first-hand since of boats being seriously damaged in southerly winter gales. Back to the point: I asked the marina office about wifi and was referred to a leaflet by their contracted supplier, those altruistic bods from Vodafone. After reading the small print I realised it would cost more to park my laptop there for the winter than my boat.

In other words, bargains aren't always as they appear.

And depending upon the size of your boat, you might find leaving it until September a bit of a lottery. I fully understand the notion of finding somewhere you like before committing yourself, but it does carry a risk.

As I metioned before, the EPPA marinas are owned by the regional government. They're happy to negotiate to precisely the same extent as you expect with your Council Tax.
 

maxi77

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Perhaps we should as ask how many of us already here have managed to secure a 'face to face' discount?

Well we were offered a discount in Lagos though we declined as we like to sleep at night and one night of Lagos revelry was enough.

We got a discount where we are now with little difficulty. Both were face to face negotiations. Basically at the moment nowhere is full and when you are in they would prefer you to stay so discounts are offered. Every one else we know in the area has got a discount of some kind all through face to face negotiations
 

crisjones

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Some more useful info - thanks again.

I appreciate that it is difficult to compare places when things like electricity, water, wifi etc may or may not be included and some extra charges soon add up to a significant sum. All I want to do is to be as informed as possible before we get there, both about costs and social life.

Macd - I was aware of the EPPA marina ownership so I did not anticipate any negotiation on prices, after all the marina staff are government employees so probably have no incentive to negotiate to increase income - you pay what is asked or go elsewhere!!! You mention electricity and WiFi - approx how much do these cost you for winter in Ayamonte?

Maxi77 - good to know that people are getting discounts and even better that marinas are not full, it does make a difference to our bargaining power!!! How do you find the social side in Albufeira - how many liveaboards are there for winter? We are not looking for hectic parties and pub crawls, but it is nice to have a good few people about the marina for friendly cuppas, barbeques etc and to share problems and solutions.

Our RCC pilot does mention that Portimao may waive multihull surcharges during the winter - does anyone have first hand experience of this? Although Macd does not paint too promising a picture of Portimao, are any forumites actually in Portimao, what do you think?
 

maxi77

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The social side of Albufeira is what you make it. There are not many liveaboards though there are several UK owners who keep their boats here and visit regularly. Mrs Maxi does a few shifts in the local charity shop and we have several freinds in the expat community here. Also because Albufeira is a major resort area we have people coming out from the UK too and accomodation is easy for them. Though the bars etc along the dockside are not noisy they are welcoming and good meeting points.

We made our choice after spending many holidays out here so perhaps we went a different way to others. We have freinds in the south basin in Portimao and they are happy there, and clearly many are happy in Lagos and I do understand the liveaboards tend to be in the part of the marina away from the bars. I have not met any one residing in either Villamoura or Olhao so cannot comment on them.

Edited to add, Albufeira is secure enough for Mrs Maxi to return here alone when I was obliged to stay in the UK for medical reasons.
 
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tri39

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Since Cris has a multihull the mentioned lack of surcharge at Portimao is attractive!

There seem to be quite a few cats at El Rompido east of Ayamonte.
Care is needed with shallow entrance!

If you really want to save money, try anchoring in Alvor!!

I may well be heading this way myself soon.
 

crisjones

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I know there are quite a few possibilities for wintering at anchor such as Alvor, Tavira, Rio Guadiana etc, however I think cabin fever might be a distinct risk if you need to get in the dinghy to go ashore in all sorts of weather. Also electric and water get to be a lot more hassle. All these factors could make it a very long winter if stuck at anchor. I know quite a few liveaboards choose to winter at anchor to minimise expenditure, I don't think the Admiral is quite so ready to accept the hardships for a full winter!!!

We are quite happy to pay to winter in a marina, all I am trying to do is minimise the costs of doing that. Also accept that the cheapest place might not be the most convenient, most comfortable, safe in very bad weather etc etc. As with everything boaty it is always about compromises - I am trying to build up enough info to make sure we know what to expect and to try to decide which marinas offer the "best value for money" for our circumstances.

Different people will have different priorities, budgets and comfort levels and may make different decisions.
 

macd

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Macd....You mention electricity and WiFi - approx how much do these cost you for winter in Ayamonte?

...Macd does not paint too promising a picture of Portimao

Can't remember precise cost of electricity. It's related to size of boat but negligible....pence. There's no marina wifi. Several bars in town offer free wifi and it's possible to pay a local internet provider to tap into their signal. Note that there are no lift-out facilities here. But perhaps with a cat all you need is a flat sheltered beach? Plenty of them in the region.

re Portimao: chap next to me on the pontoon was there last winter. His warps stood up to all a southerly blow could throw at them. Unfortunately the finger the warps were tied to didn't... Apparently the problem is big southerlies meeting a strong ebb.
 

TonyMS

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We were in El Rompido last winter, leaving the boat for much of the time while we came home.

Reasonable prices for cats. Secure and safe. Very nice people. Good chandlery. Pleasant village. Only a few liveabords, and little social life. Good walks. Famous nudy beach! Bit of a fag getting to an airport.
 

gavin_lacey

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Portimao used to be very popular for overwintering cats. It did not apply a surcharge unlike all the others, as a result it picked up quite a lot of business.
 
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